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Proceedings of the
Second Session of the
Second Wheeling Convention

August 8, 1861

The Convention met at 11 A. M.

Prayer by Rev. J. T. McClure, of the United Presbyterian Church.

Minutes of yesterday were read and approved.

Mr. CARLILE said he had drawn up some resolutions which he desired to submit to the Convention as a sort of test of their sentiment on a question which he believed had occupied their time since their meeting - a division of the State. He wished to offer some remarks in support of them though he was advised that his health would not permit him to enforce his views as he would like to. He would submit the resolutions merely as a suggestive, and the Convention could dispose of them as they saw fit. He then desired to give the reasons that forced themselves upon his mind, and brought him to the conclusion that action in the direction pointed out in the resolution should be at once taken. He read the resolutions as follow:

Resolved, That the Committee on Business be instructed to report an ordinance providing for the formation of a separate State out of, and to be composed of, the following counties, to wit: Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Barbour, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Gilmer, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Monongalia, Ohio, Pleasants, Ritchie, Putnam, Randolph, Preston, Roane, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wood, Wayne, Webster, Wirt, Wetzel. - 38.

2. That the Committee on Business be instructed to report an ordinance providing that any county lying contiguous to the boundary proposed for the new State, a majority of whose people shall express a desire to be admitted into the proposed new State, shall form a part thereof.

3. That the same Committee be instructed to report a constitution and form of government for the said proposed State, to be submitted to the people thereof for ratification or rejection, at the polls, on the 4th day of October next, and at the same time the sense of said voters to be taken on the question of the formation of said new State.

Mr. CARLILE followed at length in support of his resolutions, and was replied to briefly by Mr. Stewart, who moved to lay the resolutions on the table.

[The remarks of these gentlemen will appear as early as practicable.]

Mr. SNYDER demanded the yeas and nays, and the demand was sustained.

Mr. CRANE, of Randolph, did not think the resolutions ought to be laid on the table. They had already wasted an hour in the discussion.

Mr. STEWART inquired if the motion to table was debatable at this time.

The President said the merits of the question could not be argued.

Mr. CRANE had desired to say something on the merits of the question, but supposed under the rule he would be precluded. He had always, in his short experience, opposed laying resolutions on the table as a waste of time. An indefinite postponemen[t] effected something, as it was generally equivalent to a defeat, but laying on the table only gave time for a renewal of the fight, exhausting our energies, and consuming time without accomplishing anything.

The President read the rule, that "when a motion to lay on the table is made, there shall be no debate on that or on any incidental question arising out of it."

Mr. CRANE gave way.

Mr. CALDWELL, of Marshall, moved that the gentleman from Randolph be permitted to discuss not only the motion to lay upon the table but the merits of the question.

Mr. LIGHTBURN said he intended to vote for the resolutions, but as the hour of 12 had past, he moved a recess till 2 o'clock.

Mr. HOOTON called the previous question of laying on the table.

Mr. DORSEY rose to a point of order, and inquired if a motion to adjourn could be entertained when a question was about to be put?

The President thought not after having proceeded to take the vote; but sometimes a question was discussed for days, and if they could not take a recess they would have to sit a good while without anything to eat.

Mr. STEWART inquired if the question would not have to be put before the motion to adjourn could be entertained?

The PRESIDENT thought not.

Mr. DORSEY desired to know whether any business could intervene between the calling for the yeas and nays, and the putting of the question itself.

Mr. CARLILE said his little experience taught him that a motion to adjourn can be put at any time after the yeas and nays have been ordered, before a response to the call. A motion to adjourn was always in order under their rules, and under general parliamentary law.

Mr. LIGHTBURN had made his motion because, under the motion of the gentleman from Marshall, time would be consumed in a discussion that could not now be so disposed of. If he would withdraw the motion to allow the discussion to proceed, he (Lightburn), would withdraw his, otherwise, he must insist on it.

Mr. CALDWELL declined to do so.

The question was then put, and the Convention took a recess till 2 P. M.


Convention met at two.

The PRESIDENT said the pending question was, Shall the member from Randolph be permitted to address the house on the merits of the question of laying the resolutions offered by the gentleman from Harrison upon the table.

A running discussion of some length ensued.

Mr. CRANE did not wish the matter to be pressed.

Mr. NICHOLS asked his friend from Doddridge to withdraw his motion to lay on the table, in order that he might make a motion to refer to the Committee on a Division of the State.

The PRESIDENT said it could not be done.

After some further parley, the yeas and nays, having been ordered on the question to lay the resolutions on the table, were taken and resulted as follows:

YEAS - Messrs. Atkinson, Boreman of Tyler, Barns, Burley, Broski, Barrick, Crawford, Caldwell, Carskadon, Downey, Flesher, Fast, Gist, Graham, Harrison, Hubbard, Hawxhurst, Johnson, Koonce, Lamb, Mason, Nichols, Porter, Polsley, Ritchie, Smith (Jas. M.), Smith (Fontain), Stewart, Tarr, Trout, Todd, Van Winkle, West, Watson, Farnsworth, Slack, and Boreman of Wood (President.) - 37.

NAYS - Messrs. Brown, Burdett, Cather, Carlile, Crane of Preston, Crane of Randolph, Dorsey, Douglas, Ferrell, Fleming, Hale, Hagans, Hooton, Howard, Jackson, Kramer, Lightburn, Love, Martin of Wetzel, Myers, Michael, Price, Smith of Pleasants, Scott, Snider, Swan, Withers, Williamson of Pleasants, Wilson, Zinn, Frost, and Davidson - 32.

So the motion to table the resolution prevailed.

Mr. BROWN, from the Committee on Credentials, reported adversely on the claims to a seat in the Convention of Jonathan Roberts, of Alexandria. He said it was desired that the case should come before the Convention for its action.

Mr. HAWXHURST moved the the credentials be read.

They were so read and after some discussion

Mr. LIGHTBURN moved their recommitment, which was agreed to.

Mr. ZINN presented a petition of citizens of Preston county praying for a division of the State, which on his motion was referred to the Committee on Division of the State.

Mr. WEST offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the appropriate Committee be instructed to report an ordinance to so amend the Constitution of the State as to provide for the creation of new counties of a less area than is required at present by the Constitution.

Mr. VAN WINKLE moved a reference to the Committee on business, which was agreed to.

Mr. HOOTON presented three other petitions from the citizens of Preston, similar to that offered by his colleague.

They were referred to the same committee as the other.

Mr. FARNSWORTH offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That all persons claiming the right to vote at any election, shall be required before doing so, to take the oath of allegiance as adopted and prescribed by the Convention which met in Wheeling on the 11th of June last: Provided, however, that all persons having once taken the oath, shall not be required to take it a second time; nor shall any person refusing to take such oath be eligible to office or serve on grand or petit juries.

An extended discussion upon this resolution took place.

Messr. Carlile, Crane of Randolph, and Van Winkle opposed its adoption.

FONTAIN SMITH advocated it.

Mr. WEST opposed the indefinite postponement.

Mr. DORSEY said if the gentleman from Harrison would withdraw his motion, he would move that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Business.

Mr. CARLILE withdrew it.

Mr. DORSEY moved the reference indicated.

Mr. FARNSWORTH rose for the purpose of withdrawing the resolution. He had been really somewhat opposed to the sentiment of the resolution and had offered it more in compliance with the wishes of his constituents than his own. But since there had been so much said about the merits of it he did not think it after all so very objectionable. He withdrew it.

The President decided that it could not be withdrawn. A motion had been made by the gentleman from Monongalia to refer.

The question on referring to the Committee on Business was taken and decided in the affirmative.

Mr. LIGHTBURN offered the following which was referred to the same committee:

Resolved, That the Constitution be so amended as to render all persons ineligible to hold any office of profit or trust in the Commonwealth who voted for the ordinance, and yet adhere to the doctrine of secession.

Mr. MARTIN, of Wetzel offered the following, which was similarly referred:

Resolved, That all persons having taken the oath required of the officers of the government who since have voted for the Ordinance of Secession, and all other persons having before and after voting for said Ordinance advocated secession principles, shall be disqualified for exercising the functions of any office in the Commonwealth during hostilities between the United States and the seceded States.

Mr. VAN WINKLE offered the following, which was adopted:

Resolved, That all resolutions of motions requiring the enactment of ordinances or laws, shall not be acted upon by the Convention until the same shall have been reported upon by a committee.

He also moved that the consideration of the ordinances reported by the Committee on Business be made the order of the day for to-morrow at eleven o'clock.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. Davidson observed that Mr. Smith of Upshur, who had been appointed on the Committee on a Division of the State, was not present in the Convention, and moved that Mr. Farnsworth be appointed in lieu of him.

The motion was agreed to and Mr. Farnsworth appointed.

The Convention then adjourned until eleven o'clock to-morrow.

August 6
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August 21

Chapter Nine: Second Session of the Second Wheeling Convention

A State of Convenience

West Virginia Archives and History